New Delhi, June 17 (IANS) As terrorist activities continued even after a month-long Ramadan ceasefire announcement in Jammu and Kashmir, the Centre on Sunday decided not to extend its unilateral initiative, declared on May 16 to coincide with the holy month, evoking dismay among people in the state.
The Home Ministry announcement, a day after Eid festivities, said that operations against the militants will resume.
“The Government of India decides not to extend the suspension of operations in Jammu and Kashmir announced in the beginning of Ramadan,” a Ministry statement said.
It said the “security forces are being directed to take all necessary actions as earlier to prevent the militants from launching attacks and indulging in violence and killings”.
“The government is committed to working for creating an environment free of terror and violence in Jammu and Kashmir. It is important that all those who have interests of people of the state and especially the youth in mind to isolate the terrorists and work towards bringing back misguided youth to the right path,” the statement said.
The Home Ministry appreciated the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir for showing “exemplary restraint” during Ramadan despite grave provocation by the terrorists.
When the conditional Ramadan ceasefire began, it was assumed that it would be extended to cover the upcoming Amarnath Yatra. But unending violence by militants, who continued to target and kill security personnel, forced the government’s hands.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in a series of tweets said that the decision to not conduct counter insurgency operations in the state had been taken “in the interests of the peace loving people of Jammu and Kashmir, in order to provide them a conducive atmosphere to observe Ramzan”.
He said though the security forces had “displayed exemplary restraint” during the ceasefire which has been “widely appreciated all over the country including Jammu and Kashmir in bringing relief to the common citizens, the terrorists have continued with their attacks on civilians and (security forces), resulting in deaths and injuries”.
“The operations against the terrorists (are) to resume,” he said.
Jammu and Kashmir ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) spokesman Rafi Ahmad Mir expressed unhappiness over the Central government’s decision not to extend the ceasefire.
Mir said: “The party was not happy with the decision announced by the Union Home Ministry in view of the unending violence during Ramadan, blamed mostly on militants.”
Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said: “The ceasefire was the Centre’s initiative… Its failure is the failure of everyone who wanted to give peace a chance.”
Refuting that the end of ceasefire indicated a failure of peace efforts, Deputy Chief Minister and BJP leader Kavinder Gupta said: “This was just suspension of operations. A befitting reply will be given to everyone who indulged in such activities.”
Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Jitendra Singh, said the priority for the government was to conduct the upcoming Amarnath Yatra and the decision not to extend the truce followed inputs from security forces and intelligence agencies.
CPI-M leader Muhammad Yusuf Tarigami said: “Whatever the compulsions and the provocation, the decision not to extend the ceasefire is unfortunate. The common Kashmiri had heaved a sigh of relief and that hope has now vanished.”
The ceasefire was announced on May 16 to provide a conducive atmosphere during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. But the separatists had not favourably responded to it from the very beginning.
“It was nothing more than temporary suspension of the killing spree of Kashmiris by Indian armed forces,” said an activist of the separatists who did not want to be identified by name.
Some Kashmiris argued that the resumption of offensive operations against militants only proved that there had been no serious application of mind when the ceasefire was announced.
“The ceasefire had given a ray of hope to us that the common man would be allowed to live without fear,” said 48-year-old Srinagar resident Javaid Ahmad.